Belfast Telegraph

Victims of IRA terror take battle for Gaddafi's billions to Westminster

By Adrian Rutherford

A campaign to have money stashed by Colonel Gaddafi used to compensate those who suffered at the hands of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism is set to move a step forward.

Relatives will ask MPs to back their claims for tens of millions of pounds when they appear before a Westminster committee tomorrow.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will examine the UK Government's failure to obtain compensation for the victims of Libyan-backed attacks.

Gaddafi armed the IRA from the mid-1980s, supplying Semtex plastic explosive used in a series of atrocities.

The now-deceased dictator and his henchmen deposited billions of pounds around the world.

Most of the stash, including a complex web of investment funds and a string of luxury properties, was frozen in 2011.

Jonathan Ganesh said the money should be used to compensate victims. He was horrifically injured in the 1996 Docklands bombing, one of a number of attacks which used Libyan Semtex.

"Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's supplies of Semtex explosives had a devastating and terrible effect on the UK and Northern Ireland due to countless IRA atrocities such as London Docklands, City of London, Harrods, Baltic Exchange, Warrington, Manchester and Enniskillen," Mr Ganesh said.

"Gaddafi acknowledged the suffering of the United States and other EU states' IRA victims under the Libya Claim Resolution Act 2008 but astonishingly refused to help UK IRA victims as we had been abandoned by our own UK Government.

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"Therefore, the victims within the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be appealing to the committee for a percentage of the seized assets of Colonel Gaddafi to be released to help those left severely disabled and to rectify this appalling lack of equality."

Libya has already provided compensation in relation to the Lockerbie bombing.

Some 270 people were killed when a bomb exploded on Pan AM flight 103 over the Scottish town in 1988.

Col Gaddafi accepted that Libya carried out the bombing, but denied giving the orders himself.

In 2003 he agreed to compensation in order to get international sanctions on Libya lifted.

Victims of IRA attacks argue they too should receive financial packages from the north African state.

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The cross-party Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is due to have its first public hearing tomorrow.

It will examine "the role of the UK Government in seeking compensation for the victims of IRA attacks made possible by the provision of Semtex and other weapons by the Gaddafi regime".

Mr Ganesh is one of seven witnesses scheduled to appear before the committee tomorrow.

Victims campaigner Willie Frazer and Bessbrook pastor Barrie Halliday, both from Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, will also give evidence.

Aileen Quinton, whose mother Alberta died in the 1987 Poppy Day bombing, and Kenny Donaldson of the group Innocent Victims United, will also appear.

Jason McCue and Matthew Jury from McCue & Partners, who represent the victims, are also on the witness list.

Gaddafi - who had ruled the country as a dictator since 1969 - was overthrown in 2011, with the UK launching airstrikes against his forces.

He was killed by a street mob later that year.

Belfast Telegraph


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